Titans Should Consider Brett Kern For Ring Of Honor

Brett Kern
  One of many Brett Kern photos on display at his press conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There were stretches of time during his 13 years and 197 games with the Titans during which there was a legitimate debate as to whether Brett Kern was the best player on the team.

Yes, sometimes it was because of the franchise’s weak roster, but it was also because of the punter’s excellence.

And that’s why, following Kern’s official retirement press conference on Thursday afternoon, the Titans should eventually give serious consideration to adding him to their Ring of Honor. [Unlocked]

Bum Phillips, Jeff Fisher and Floyd Reese were the most recent additions to the ring, where Bruce Matthews, Eddie George, Steve McNair and Frank Wycheck all reside. Matthews' career spilled into Nashville but was made in Houston.

So among players who made their name in Nashville, only George, McNair and Wycheck have their names inside Nissan Stadium and will carry over into a special feature that will be part of the new stadium, set to open in 2027. No defenders from the Tennessee era are part of the ring, which makes Jevon Kearse, Keith Bulluck and Jurrell Casey prime candidates. Back on offense, Chris Johnson and Delanie Walker are on a contenders list too.

So it won't be easy for Kern to make it.

The Titans have long been a special-teams-reliant team, and Kern was a First Team All-Pro in 2019 and a Pro Bowler in 2017, 2018 and 2019. 

He’s the franchise all-time leader in punts (923), gross punting average (45.9 yards), net punting average (40.8) and punts placed inside the 20 (373). Kern owns nine of the top 10 net punting seasons in franchise history and six of the team’s top nine gross punting seasons. 

With 197 career games played with the Titans, he’s third in franchise history behind Bruce Matthews (296) and Elvin Bethea (210). He’s played the most games for any player during the Titans era. In NFL annals, he's eighth all-time in punts inside the 20 (396) and tied for 45th all-time in career net average (40.5).

Among those who attended the press conference were Mike Vrabel, Derrick Henry, Ryan Succop, Beau Brinkley, Tim Shaw, Ryan Crow, John Streicher, Ryan Stonehouse and Morgan Cox.

In a thorough speech, Kern did well to thank a wide cross-section of people, including John Takahashi, the assistant athletic trainer who stretched him so often, Donald Page, the team photographer who took shots that leave him with such great memories to look back on, and the equipment staff.

Kern estimated the equipment staff "caught roughly 35,000 punts, cut pockets out of 100 pairs of pants." He also credited head equipment man Joey Barranco for finding a very particular kicking sock and a long sleeve shirt that were important to him." 

I know Kern was always a go-to guy for both media and community relations.

Shockingly, not every professional football player is reliable. And when guys backed out or disappeared from commitments, interview spots or community appearances were often filled, sometimes with little notice, by Kern.

When fans told him they didn't go to buy a drink or get a snack until fourth down was over, it meant the world to him. 

"The compliments over the year honestly field me to be the best I could be," he said. "I didn't want to let any of you down. Thank you for letting me represent you on the field and allowing this city to be our home."

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